Our weekly “Chips Report” will always include two blue chippers (outstanding, exceptional play), two red chippers (good, though maybe not great) and two cow chips (dud performances). From the Week 3 win against the Chicago Bears…
- Jermichael Finley––There is not another tight end in the league more dangerous than Finley right now. Yes, he’s tall and he can go up and make catches higher than anyone else, but it goes beyond that. He knows the offense inside and out. He can catch jump balls and go down and cradle others a foot off the ground. He can work the middle of the field and then catch back-shoulder throws along the sideline. And he’s an improving blocker as well. His stat line speaks for itself: seven catches for 85 yards and three touchdowns. ‘Nuff said.
- Ryan Grant––Just when James Starks was looking like the best option worthy of receiving a majority of the carries this season, Grant has his best game in literally years (albeit due to injury). He had 17 carries for 92 yards, good for 5.4 yards per carry. If you subtract the last few carries of the game after Grant got hit in the head and the Bears knew the Packers were trying to run out the clock, the average would have been even better than that. It seemed like every carry was for at least seven yards.
- Morgan Burnett––With Nick Collins out for the year and the safety position in need of some stability, Morgan Burnett provided it with two interceptions. He showed a knowledge of being in the proper place, great hands and better range. He also tied for the team lead in tackles with five. The Packers need another elite performer in the secondary and so far this season, Burnett is providing it.
- Marshall Newhouse––Considering the circumstances, a better performance could not have been asked from Newhouse. In the face of adversity with Bryan Bulaga exiting with a knee injury, Newhouse stepped in and generally did not miss a beat. He had one false start penalty and another penalty declined by the Bears, but he did a fantastic job in pass protection keeping Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije away from Aaron Rodgers. It was Newhouse’s first career appearance on offense after being inactive all of 2010 and playing only on special teams the first two games of this season.
- Charlie Peprah––Replacing Nick Collins in the starting lineup, Peprah did little to instill confidence in observers. He got beat for three “explosive” plays. On the first, he dove attempting to break up a pass intended for Sam Hurd and missed. The pass was completed for 17 yards. On the second, he got beat on a corner route by Johnny Knox for 24 yards on the very next play. And then on the third he got turned around on another route by Knox for 40 yards to the deep left side of the field. All of them happened in the second quarter. With the Packers giving up more than 300 yards passing in all three games this year, they need more from Peprah.
- James Starks––Starks had 11 carries for only five yards and three catches for only nine yards. Certainly, there were times where he had no room to run. But there were others when he tried to cut and change his direction, which slowed him down, instead of putting his shoulder down and getting what was available to him. Against good linebackers like Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs, any bit of slowing down isn’t going to work.